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Beginner or Experienced - Always something new to learn

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  • Beginner or Experienced - Always something new to learn

    Want a new hobby, try Scroll sawing you won’t be disappointed. There is always something new - whether it is a new technique in sawing, different material to saw, etc.

    Scroll sawing. Once you try it you will be hooked. I have been using a scroll saw for over 35 years. Do you know what you can do with a scroll saw or how many different materials you are able to saw with the proper blade mounted in a variable speed saw? Did you know that you can saw paper, and cloth, as well as wood (plywood and solid wood of various thicknesses), thin metals such as steel, tin, brass, copper, antler, bone, alabaster or soap stone, and plastic, acrylic or even glass.

    If you haven’t got a scroll saw you may find one at a decent price on line. You may have to spend a while looking but there are some good buys out there. If you can, try the saw out before buying, even a new one. Learn more about scroll sawing by reading the posts on some of the “scroll saw forums” on line. Buy a saw that can use “pinless blades” so you can have a wider choice of blades and saw more types of projects. You may be able to saw many projects using a cheaper saw but you will enjoy the experience using one that may cost a bit more because it will run quieter, smoother, have a blade change system that makes moving from one cut out to another much faster and easier, require fewer repairs, etc.

    When I first started using a scroll saw I found a circular Christmas ornament with “Merry Christmas “ written in the centre of the ornament. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to saw out the first one so be patient, don’t hurry. Start with projects that have smooth, flowing lines that are easy to follow and saw. The more you saw the better you will become at following the cutting lines. Now I am able to saw out this same ornament in about 3/4 hour.

    After getting some information about scroll sawing you can make a better decision on what you want to do and the best scroll saw to start with. Browse the posts on some of the scroll saw forums where you can ask questions and get information from many experienced people. There may be woodworking clubs or a scroll saw workshop in your area where you can get hands-on help. Even after using a scroll saw for about 35 years and teaching scroll saw workshops I am still learning something new.

    You may use the same pattern again and again but the finished project will be different because you use a different species of wood or different thickness, or a different material completely (antler or alabaster instead of wood), resize the pattern larger or smaller to fit the piece of wood you have, etc. Speaking of patterns, there are many very talented artists who draw the patterns I use because I am not gifted in that respect. I do, at times, modify a pattern slightly to make it more suited to use for a scroll saw. Patterns originally used for other purposes such a children’s colouring books, leather tooling, embroidery, paper cutting, etc. can be modified for scroll sawing. Looking for something different to use for a project, browse your local Thrift Store, Dollar Store or Winners Store, for wood plates, cutting boards, etc. that you may use. There are some beautiful woods out there waiting for you to bring them to life.

    Below are some photos of several projects I have sawn throughout my years of scroll sawing.
    Top row - canoe scene about 6 x 9 inches in birch slice and same scene in deer antler reduced to about 1 1/2 x 1 inch.
    2nd row - City Police logo in baltic birch and painted with Saman water base paint overlayed on BB background, bowl from birch slice, 3 D intertwined giraffe from pine, eagle 6 x 9 in birch slice and same scene reduced to 1 1/2 x 1 in deer antler, 3D and flat Christmas ornaments
    3rd row - Scene sawn in birch slice pattern used is from a leather tooling book, train locomotive shelf overlayed - oak plywood sawn so that wood grain is vertical in background and horizontal in train, mountain sheep in alabaster dust is almost like talc so mask and air filter necessary, butterfly - centre part is sawn at an angle of 3 or 4 degrees to recess centre so outside acts as frame, oak jewellery box,
    4th row - framed mirror from 3/4 inch oak - sconces on sides I used portions of the pattern from the mirror frame, 18 x 24 print glued to 1/8 BB and puzzle sawn freehand (no pattern was used), wood bowls - walnut oval, square 5/8 OSB sub floor, birch plate slice sawn into plate.

    These projects are sawn using patterns from a number of people and I am sorry I don't know who they all are. Patrick Spielman, Carole Rothman, Stollman (leather tooling), are a few of the very talented artists. If it wasn't that these people used their gifts of drawing we would not have the thousands of patterns we have as sources of for our scroll sawn work.


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